First Lady launches small grains scheme

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

FIRST Lady Aux­il­lia Mnan­gagwa yes­ter­day launched the small grains farm­ing pro­gramme tar­get­ing ru­ral women, which will be rolled out coun­try­wide to boost house­hold food se­cu­rity.

The pro­gramme, launched at Madzamba Pri­mary School in Mbire dur­ing be­lated In­ter­na­tional Ru­ral Women’s Day cel­e­bra­tions, helps women farm­ers in­su­late them­selves from the va­garies of cli­mate change.

Women liv­ing in ru­ral areas, the First Lady said, should be recog­nised for spear­head­ing de­vel­op­ment at both house­hold and na­tional level, and for re­silience dur­ing hard­ships. She added that Zim­babwe had enough grain and plans are un­der­way to sup­port vul­ner­a­ble house­holds.

“(In­ter­na­tional Ru­ral Women’s Day) is highly re­garded in­ter­na­tion­ally as the day to ap­pre­ci­ate and cel­e­brate the crit­i­cal con­tri­bu­tion made by women liv­ing in the ru­ral areas to­wards mak­ing the world a bet­ter place,” she said.

“Women liv­ing in ru­ral areas de­serve this recog­ni­tion as by virtue of their num­ber and God-given at­tributes of love and hu­mil­ity, they de­ter­mine the peace that pre­vails in their com­mu­ni­ties, the pace at which com­mu­ni­ties de­velop and in­deed the over­all success of na­tional de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes. This year’s theme ac­knowl­edges the crit­i­cal im­por­tance of agri­cul­ture world­wide and that cli­mate change is a real threat to our fu­ture gen­er­a­tions, who face the bleak prospect of star­va­tion due to wa­ter scarcity and even death due to un­favourable weather con­di­tions.”

Amai Mnan­gagwa said cli­mate change di­rectly im­pacted ru­ral women, who mostly re­lied on rain­fed agri­cul­ture.

“The time to ad­dress the neg­a­tive im­pact of cli­mate and in­crease agri­cul­ture pro­duc­tion is now. I have, there­fore, launched a small grains farm­ing pro­gramme to­day start­ing with (Mashona­land Cen­tral) prov­ince. The pro­gramme will also be launched in the other nine prov­inces of the coun­try as a way of en­hanc­ing food pro­duc­tion.”

She re­layed Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa’s mes­sage on food se­cu­rity.

“I also have a mes­sage from Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa. He told me to tell you that al­though the coun­try is ex­pect­ing low rain­fall due to El Niño, we have enough maize. He said Gov­ern­ment is now work­ing on a dis­tri­bu­tion sched­ule.”

The First Lady has vis­ited Mbire Dis­trict at least thrice now to as­sist women in the area with self­help projects.

In July, she fa­cil­i­tated con­struc­tion of health­care fa­cil­i­ties for the Doma peo­ple and launched var­i­ous in­come-gen­er­at­ing projects in the area.

At yes­ter­day’s event, Lands, Agri­cul­ture, Wa­ter, Cli­mate and Ru­ral Set­tle­ment Min­is­ter Per­rance Shiri en­cour­aged women to take ad­van­tage of a new law al­low­ing peo­ple to ex­change small grains with maize at Grain Mar­ket­ing Board de­pots.

“Due to the ef­fects of cli­mate change, it is im­por­tant for Zim­babwe to foster a cul­ture of in­cor­po­rat­ing small grain farm­ing,” he said.

“It is areas such as these that women should grow small grains and ex­change with maize. It is a new law that we have in­tro­duced and should be taken ad­van­tage off. There are some re­gions that do not grow small grains. How­ever, un­der this law they, too, will be able to ben­e­fit from small grains if women in Mbire will take up the ini­tia­tive.”

Women’s Af­fairs, Com­mu­nity and SMEs De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Sithem­biso Ny­oni, who was also part of the pro­ceed­ings, said Gov­ern­ment was com­mit­ted to up­lift­ing the lives of ru­ral women. She en­cour­aged women to con­tinue work­ing on projects that en­hance their lives and na­tional de­vel­op­ment.

Present at the cel­e­bra­tions were Senate Pres­i­dent Cde Ma­bel Chi­nomona, Mashonalnd Cen­tral Min­is­ter of State for Pro­vin­cial Af­fairs Mon­ica Mavhunga, Lands Deputy Min­is­ter David Karoro and leg­is­la­tors. The First Lady do­nated four wa­ter pumps and a tonne of small grains to the Mbire com­mu­nity.

First Lady Aux­il­lia Mnan­gagwa flanked by pres­i­dent of the Senate Ma­bel Chi­nomona (right) hands over seed of small grains to Ms Mai­ness Line dur­ing the World In­ter­na­tional Ru­ral Women’s Day in Mbire yes­ter­day

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